Linda Ford

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since May 02, 2013
Retired bureaucrat has moved to 40 acres of high desert grazing land that the ancients called home with incredible views of mountains and sky.
Southwestern New Mexico
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Recent posts by Linda Ford

You will have to do the research because I would not presume to know what would be good for you. That said, I have heard about Iguana Venom. It may be related to the helminthic therapy in the last post but I saw a news story about it as one of unconventional but effective medical treatments - like bee stings, or leaches (really) - and did find a link to it once. The problem is that it is not a Pharmaceutical so most medical people I have spoken to have never heard about it. There is a reptile farm in Arizona (and others) that gathers it and provides it for Diabetics. The report was that it helps the body balance the insulin production and the side effect was weight loss (as we now know the weight is not because of poor diet but an actual effect of the body fighting the process).

Perhaps someone else can help you find the link.
3 years ago
I want to reinforce the few that have suggested that you go to a Chiropractor!!! You seem aware that the problem in a nerve that is being irritated/pinched as it passes the hard tissue (bones) and the protective sheath is getting rubbed. The actual repair requires that the space for this nerve to pass is enlarged to it's original size. After many years of getting this way it may take several treatments to gently pry them apart, yet it is a simple procedure that has been practiced by Chiropractors for many generations. As you have been trying salves and stretches for these past several months, with only limited effect, I think it is time you consider seeking this professional help. You can be back in the yard in a few short weeks, as good as new.

You can get references from your neighbors. Then the Doctor will start by explaining the physiology of his/her treatment. I know it seems "too easy" to just move the pressure off the nerve, but that is it in a nutshell. The bulging disc is also the result of the vertebrae being "pinched" through years of pressure, gravity, etc.

My own experience is with both neck and lower back pain resulting from a car accident. It does recur because of my own activities and yet I know it is so easy to go get relief.

WHAT IF this was a simple solution that you have been avoiding because the general Medical Profession is stuck in their own pharmacology and surgical solutions.
PLEASE, give Chiropractic a try before you allow any invasive surgery or even continue untreated any longer.
3 years ago
I don't like all the pictures on the home page taking up space and making it harder to find the section I'm interested in on this visit. The rest just seem like I'll need to get used to it. Yet it seems some of these changes may have forgotten us old folks who don't have all the computer savvy (like what is an "fn" key?) What seems "simple" to you may not be intuitive for me.

And, I also did not know about a mobile format. Where it that, how do I get there, etc. I simply gave up trying to be here from my Android except to listen to podcasts.
Have you considered Hugle-berms? As the point is to keep what rain does fall, the berms keep it from running off and the Hugle not only soaks in that water but is decaying. I have installed these in my High Desert land that grows "weeds" very well but not "crops." If you haven't watched the Greening The Desert (1 and 2) I recommend it as that is what convinced me to try. If he was successful in the Jordan Desert (gray lifeless salty sand) with only 2" average rain fall, it would seem our 6" to 10" ought to work too. I dug 1 1/2' deep trenches so I could use that dirt to cover the woody stuff. Big wood last longer but if you want more rapid decomposition you could use just what is around. I have a mix of old tree parts and the 'sticks' from our weeds. The land seems to want to shade itself and grows a wide of variety of stuff.

My open land is covered by gamma grasses and where that is there are less tumble weeds (Russian thistle?) which takes over the disturbed areas. Those seems to make a great chop and drop plant, leaving the woody sticks behind but they collapse easily when stepped on. The chickens really like the young plants. I have enlisted the help of a Native Plant knowledgeable friend for my first plantings, but the trees actually went in first though I have been told the cover crops should have that honor, especially the nitrogen rich ones like alfalfa. But the whole thing is about catching the rain we do get.

I will be following your progress and, of course, share my results. So far the Sun chokes have survived. They were 'stunted' the first year but did grow some nodes. Then this year they have sprouted whole new plants. I didn't know they would do that but that should make good shade so I'm excited to see how they do this year.
4 years ago
Thank you Susan, that was very informative and gave me a good basic understanding of the scaffold and multiple layering principals. I will still have to determine just how much pruning I want to do but even the minimal will require selection. I am pretty sure it was pruned at the nursery to eliminate the lower growth. I have read how they do that with most their trees. I don't know if it has a health component or just for most people's aesthetic but I knew that getting anything else was going to be very difficult in my area. My hope is to get these trees growing and the guilds in place and then add seeds & seedlings for the second generation which can be established more to permaculture principals without grafts, deep tap roots and low branches. But first things first.

I thought it interesting that he suggested not letting it fruit in the first year (or two?) to build a stronger form. That would suggest I pinch off much of the other tree's sets as well. I was going to lighten the load anyway but now I'll be more severe. I had planned on still watering regularly though perhaps a bit less intensely to force root growth (which may depend on the actual weather) and less fruit will mean less stress. It is a shame as so many years get no fruit that in a year with the perfect weather I'm going to restrict it.


Thanks Bryant, as that is exactly the advice I was hoping for. I feared just bending it over and leaving that big curve. I hadn't thought of using several lines and adjusting them over time. I have done that with house plants that wanted to stray out of their pots so I can see it would work here as well.

John, I see what you are saying, and after watching this video I better understand the options, so as I am worried about the weight of this side anyway that may very well dictate my selection. Thanks for pointing that out. I presume I should wait for the dormant season (late fall or winter...) to make that cut anyway? It sounds like there may be a decision as to which of the two leads will be taken off as the "lower" one might be favored to stay? Or would that close angle still be a problematic structure even without the other side?

Joseph, that was my first inclination too. I'm glad to hear someone else likes "interesting" tree shapes. I believe I will try to err on the side of balance this year, however, just to ensure the whole thing doesn't fall over before it can grow decent roots. I doubt it will ever be very symmetrical with this start and that is fine with me as it will add interest to the future stroll though the garden. I anticipate my windy conditions may do some other unplanned pruning in the future as well.

4 years ago
It has been 3 years since your first post. What did you try and with what results?
Here in SW NM I was advised to plant Az Cypress at the furthest end of my yard (they need some room to grow big and bushy) and Mesquite and Acacia outside the garden fence. I bought larger trees but as they are still only in their 2nd year they aren't much of a wind break yet.

I built a large swale and burm (on contour) at that far end and put the Az Cypress on the downslope side to take advantage of the water "lens" (underground pooling). They have required regular watering this first year and one blew over because the roots hadn't penetrated past the caliche "bowl" it was planted in. Stood it up and re-staked it and it seems to be ok. I also 'planted' watering tubes (3" thin wall pvc with holes at the bottom) hoping that once established I will only need to supplement them in the driest months. I used the 3" thin walled because they make a cap for the 3" and it doesn't fit tight in the thin wall so it is easy to remove without pliers. To do it again I would use a longer tube so that I could fill it with 3-5 gals of water at one time and walk away rather than thinking of them as simply "access" to the root ball. The ollas seem like a tried and true desert adaptation as well, though they only hold a few quarts of water at a time.

I have seen ranchers use bamboo along fields but 1) get the least spreading kind and 2) it still needs aggressive cutting to keep it just along the fence line and out of the field, where the water is. It grows fast but once planted it is forever. If you are looking for a material to build other fences with, the bamboo was well recommended.

I don't know if you know that the Prickly-pear pads are also edible as well as the fruit. Processing videos can be found on youtube. So are mesquite beans which are good for livestock as well.

The waiting is the hardest part!
4 years ago
A good observation. The problem is finding a "different breed" of tree in our local nurseries. I had a similar problem in my demand for a fruiting mulberry, which is illegal in our cities, even though I live far out in the country. Thus I am stuck making a compromise to limited pruning to maintain the tree while continuing to search for and plant other "breeds." The Chow will have to do to keep the Coyotes at a distance but will not be successful at protection from the mountain lion.

I will own up to my ignorance and thus reliance on the recommendations from friends and professionals, none of whom told me that a Peach required intensive pruning. I asked for a variety of fruiting trees for a food forest in chicken pastures. Everyone of them knew I was not creating a traditional Peach Orchard. There are many small orchards around here that include happy Peach trees that do not appear to be heavily pruned and are shaped like average trees mixed in with apples and other varieties. My parents had a Peach bought at a local city nursery (probably some dwarf type) that they never did anything to and, in the years it did not succumb to a freeze, was very prolific.

My Food Forest journey is just beginning. I am too old to hope to build something from seeds in the years I have left so I must start 'somewhere' with what is available. A Rat Terrier may not become a prize herding dog but it can be taught not to chase the sheep all over the field and to respond to commands thus becoming more of a help than a hindrance. I appreciate all the advice and recommendations I find here and will do my best to learn as I go. Please have patience (with us) and continue to share your wisdom.
4 years ago
OK, That still leaves my question of one or 3 stakes. One stake would allow a few of tie locations but 3 stakes would allow a greater "bend." (?) Do I need to worry about the amount of bend in the trunk - ie. tying it fairly low? Even so, more than one tie location?

As to the supports, I do understand, however any free standing board is going to get blown down so perhaps it would be prudent to attach them (one for each branch?) to a stake (T-posts) as well rather than trying to bury one end?

You can tell I am new to fruit trees other than old ones that were already quite large and Peach seem to have some particular issues.
I am very grateful for your help with this and for this forum where I knew I would find responders. This is such a wonderful group.
4 years ago
Thanks to both of you for the replies. I'll have to look at it tomorrow to see if it looks like a graft but as it has a "type" name I would expect it will be. I had a local landscaper get them for me, so I'm not sure except it is not a dwarf. These were planted as 4' trees, so I would not be surprised if the roots weren't somewhat stunted. After I get all this in and there will be less ground disturbance, I'll start some seeds for the future.

This is one of 2 that are planted in a future chicken pasture along with a pear and a cherry (that got broken off when planted so is more of a cherry-stick which you can just see in the picture). You can also see the other peach in the far background. I don't mind some pruning as it is necessary but this needs to be pretty self-sufficient as I am getting older. I also don't need massive amounts of fruit that needs preserved (Ha), but I will be happy to share what I get with the chickens and the neighbors and freeze some. While I do want fruit, the primary purpose for the trees is to make guilds in order to hold more of the rain water in my arid locale, so canopy and leaf mulch are high on their job list. There are a few types of fruit trees scattered around this 1/3 acre.

We were "lucky" here in that the last freeze didn't get down quite this far. Most of NM did not fair as well. We are also predicted to be on the better side of precipitation, but you know we can never depend on that. Usually we are getting into the dry period by May. You can also see in the picture that I am adding new/more straw mulch. You cannot see the small hugle-burms by each tree or some of the initial guild plantings. This year I'll be adding some mid-size plantings for the guilds and more ground cover.
4 years ago
I have read about the pruning but that seems to go against the admonition to leave trees in their "natural" state. How does a peach tree manage without all that pruning? As Paul would say: Before there were any people to prune it.

At this point, however, would pruning the long branches be helpful or harmful to its future growth and how severely? I don't think I would want to prune off all the leaves so it wouldn't be a "back to the trunk" cut would it? Cutting them back would seem likely to encourage more branch emergence but I'm worried about the timing/season. As this is already into the warmer season, do I need to worry about the open end of the pruned branch?

Removing the fruit sets seems prudent. But that leaves the question of removing the canopy that catches the wind or staking the tree itself, another treatment that permaculture seems to try to avoid. Maybe in this case, though... Is one central stake or 3 perimeter stakes advised, for how long? I was told to stake a tree for 3 years, but again, does that weaken the trunk? I also understand that as it has only been in the ground for 2 seasons, there probably isn't much in the way of a tap root to help stabilize it.

There is also a cherry tree not pictured that is leaning also but not as severely, though the wind in it's canopy could aggravate it's problem. I may use this advice to determine what to do about it as well.
4 years ago